Document - Mauritania: Further information on Fear for safety / ill-treatment
PUBLICAI Index: AFR 38/06/00
17 November 2000
Further information on EXTRA 84/00 (AFR 38/05/00, 14 November 2000) - Fear for safety / Ill-treatment
MAURITANIAAhmed Ould Lafdal, UDF/EN External Relations Committee Chair
Mohamed Ould Haroun
Ahmed Ould Wediaa, journalist
Ahmed Ould Bah
Sidi Ould Salem, university professor
New name:Mohamed Mounir
Released:Marième Mint Saiga (f), UFD/EN women coordinator in Almina
Benina Mint Chedad (f), UFD/EN women coordinator in Riadh
Six other female UFD/EN members
Eight female opposition members, who had been arrested by the police, have been released. However, five male opposition leaders are still detained incommunicado, and another opposition supporter has been arrested. Amnesty International is concerned for their safety.
Marième Mint Saiga, Benina Mint Chedad and six other women were released in the afternoon of 13 November after being held for a few hours by the police in Nouakchott, the capital. While in custody, they were interrogated about their political affiliation, and were warned not to take part in any opposition demonstrations. The police threatened at least one of them that she would be re-arrested and beaten if caught at a demonstration. The women had been arrested earlier in the day to prevent them from taking part in a demonstration organised in protest against the government’s decision to ban the opposition party, l’Union des forces démocratiques/Ere nouvelle (UFD/EN), Union of Democratic Forces - New Era. All the women are active members of the UFD/EN.
Ahmed Ould Lafdal, Mohamed Ould Haroun, Ahmed Ould Wediaa, Ahmed Ould Bah and Sidi Ould Salem remain in custody. It is still not known where they are detained, but on 15 November, the public prosecutorinformed their lawyers that they are suspected of an attack on national security (atteinte à la sûreté de l’état). Under Mauritanian law, people suspected of such crimes may be held in custody for up to 30 days on the Public Prosecutor’s order. Despite having requested a copy, the lawyers have still not received the Public Prosecutor’s order. The five men, who are leading opposition politicians and senior members of the UFD/EN, were arrested on 9 and 11 November, apparently with the aim of silencing the party.
Another UDF/EN supporter, Mohamed Mounir, was reportedly arrested by the police in Nouakchott on 16 November and is also held in an unknown place.
The arrests have followed the Mauritanian government’s decision on 28 October to ban the UDF/EN in an attempt to suppress widespread opposition to the government’s diplomatic links with Israel.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/ airmail letters in French or in your own language:
- urging the authorities to guarantee the safety of Ahmed Ould Lafdal, Mohamed Ould Haroun, Ahmed Ould Wediaa, Ahmed Ould, Sidi Ould Salem and Mohamed Mounir, and to ensure that they are treated in accordance with international standards;
- asking for them to be given immediate access to their families, lawyers and any medical care they might require;
- calling for their immediate and unconditional release, unless they are to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence, in which case they should be promptly tried in accordance with international fair trial standards.
Please note that you may experience problems in sending faxes.
President of the Republic
Monsieur le Président Maaouiya Ould Sid ‘Ahmed Taya
Président de la République
BP 184 Nouakchott
Faxes:+ 222 2 52636 (attention of Président de la République)
Salutation:Son Excellence / Your Excellency
Minister of the Interior
Monsieur Dah Ould Abdel Jelil
Ministre de l'Intérieur, des Postes et des Télécommunications
Ministère de l'Intérieur, des Postes et des Télécommunications
BP 195 Nouakchott
Faxes:+ 222 2 53661
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
Minister of Justice
Monsieur Lemrabott Sidi Mahmoud Ould Cheikh Ahmed
Ministre de la Justice
Ministère de la Justice
BP 350 Nouakchott
Faxes:+ 222 2 57002
Salutation:Monsieur le Ministre / Dear Minister
Mohamed Yeslem Ould Jidimou
Procureur de la République
Palais de Justice
Telegrams:Procureur République, Nouakchott, Mauritania
Salutation: Monsieur le Procureur de la République / Dear Mr Ould Jidimou
email : email@example.com
BP 6227 Nouakchott
and to diplomatic representatives of Mauritania accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 28 December 2000.